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Swiss Lawyer Meets Late Uzbek President's Daughter In Prison

Gulnara Karimova is a daughter of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov (file photo)
Gulnara Karimova is a daughter of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov (file photo)

A Swiss lawyer for Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of the late president of Uzbekistan, has met with his client in an Uzbek prison.

The Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office said on April 3 that Gregoire Mangeat met with Karimova at the Zangiota penal colony for women in the Tashkent region on April 1-2.

"Just arrived at Zangiota women’s prison colony Nr. 21. Trying to obtain acceptable conditions for our client’s meeting, Mangeat tweeted on April 1.

On April 2, he tweeted that he was at the prison for a second day. Ne gave no details of his visit in the tweets, one of which included a photograph of what looked like a prison wall topped by barbed wire.

A decade earlier under her father, Islam Karimov, an autocrat who ruled for a quarter-century until his death in 2016, Karimova was a flashy socialite living extravagantly while holding fashion shows and making pop music videos.

She was also dogged by persistent reports of rampant bribery and extortion involving foreign companies.

In 2013, reports emerged first in Sweden that Karimova had used her position to serve as a gatekeeper for international telecom companies looking to invest in Uzbekistan.

As Central Asia's most populous nation, it was considered a fast-growing market for mobile services.

The reports ultimately led to criminal investigations in Sweden, the United States, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and elsewhere, focusing on large telecom companies.

Karimova disappeared from the public eye in 2014 and Uzbek prosecutors subsequently confirmed she was under house arrest and being investigated for suspected corruption and other charges.

Uzbek officials said later that Karimova was sentenced in December 2017 to a 10-year prison term. But the following July, the sentence was reclassified to house arrest and shortened to five years.

On March 5, Uzbekistan’s Prosecutor-General's Office said a Tashkent court had found she had violated the terms of her house arrest and ordered her sent to prison.

Two days later, the United States Justice Department named Karimov as part of a major international bribery scheme, charging her with conspiracy to violate U.S. foreign corruption laws.

With reporting by and TASS